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beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Loosing control and buying more and more
Loosing control and buying more and more
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97 posts
Mar 20, 2018
11:54 AM
Guys I am in harmonica world just for 3 months but have already spent 1500 US Dollars on diatonic harmonica .

I am buying more and more :) I need to stop :)

Do others have this problem too? I am continuously looking for new sound.

Last Edited by Frankie on Mar 20, 2018 11:55 AM
147 posts
Mar 20, 2018
12:40 PM

This sounds bad, OK, sit down, close your eye's, take a deep breath, firmly grip the mouse, and click add to cart, you will be OK.
48 posts
Mar 20, 2018
5:16 PM
Find a song that in intermediate or better would play and learn that on a decent harmonica to where its simple for you to play at any moment. Promise yourself when you can do that, you can then look at expanding on better equipment. Thats what I did with banjo. Learned foggy mountain breakdown very well on a 100 dollar banjo, then treated myself to a nice one when I reached that goal.
219 posts
Mar 20, 2018
6:49 PM
Hope you’ve spent some of that dough on Adam’s videos & tabs.
60 posts
Mar 20, 2018
8:43 PM
mrjoeyman, this is what I am now doing. Of course, having been unemployed for the best part of the last year I've spent nowhere close to 1500USD, but I still needed to fight off the gear acquisition syndrome. So no more gear until I can play Blue Midnight properly.
2546 posts
Mar 21, 2018
12:06 AM
Compared to some other hobbies e.g. golf, sailing, skiing, that's nothing. Or even what you might expect to spend on another musical instrument.

If you enjoying collecting and experimenting, then that's a justification in itself. But if you are searching for some different, magic sound it's probably not helpful. Most harps sound very much the same to the listener.

If you get into mics and amps, you can spend a lot more than that and there is a lot more variety to be had.

I agree with the above comments, that if you have a budget, it's a good idea to consciously spend some fraction of that on lessons or learning materials.

I would say that your heightened interest in tuning, which involves some kit too, is a bit of a dead end musically. But again, if it's what you like doing, who is anyone else to criticise?

Last Edited by MindTheGap on Mar 21, 2018 12:08 AM
1682 posts
Mar 22, 2018
6:04 AM
I think with any new hobby there's an upfront beginners cost to get started higher then the routine maintenance cost. Once you have all the things you need to practice you generally spend less over time. I also think paying $1500/3 months is really not a problem for something you enjoy unless you think it's a problem. If you think it's a problem come up with an amount that's not a problem and keep your costs under that. I spend about $1200 each 3 months on music lessons.

I've been pretty lucky though. It sounds like a lot of guitar players, harmonica players, etc have some gear acquisition syndrome, lol. I haven't bought a new harmonica in months. I still play with some of my harmonicas from a few years ago. I bought one amp & one mic a couple years ago (which unfortunately I hardly use) have no need right now for more (though I do wish I had a need, meaning actual gigs, lol). I bought one piano, acoustic guitar, melodica, etc and feel no need for more.

It's fun to get more stuff and the latest and greatest things but you really don't need it, I think.



See My Profile for contact info, etc.

19 posts
Apr 18, 2018
7:50 PM
Hey Frankie, you're having fun with your dough and have something to show for it. Some misdirected souls put $1500 a week in their arms... just sayin'. Keep practicing. I have 14 harps, Seydels, Hohners & one Lee Oscar that all together cost less than one of my shakuhachis (Japanese folk flute).

Last Edited by Pablo42 on Apr 18, 2018 7:52 PM
5380 posts
Apr 19, 2018
12:59 AM
The shakuhachi: I did not know how much they cost.
I have enjoyed listening to that instrument. I think the most I have heard has been from yusef lateef, who’s work I have greatly enjoyed, on a variety of instruments. I think his flute pieces may be my favourites though.
Locally, the former bass player from the violent femmes is a player. At one time he operated a tea shop in the main st, and would play his shakuhachi at times in the shop. I recall hearing it as I passed by. Wonderful tones.
20 posts
Apr 19, 2018
8:03 PM
Well, Mr. SuperBee, you brought up some ancient memories for me. I saw Yusef Lateef play an oboe, a flute & an African nose flute. ALL AT THE SAME TIME. And well. A wonderful flautist. You can get a relatively well crafted shakuhachi from $100 (Thailand or Chinese) or even one from USA maker at times on e-bay. From Japan, a good used vintage from $100 to $6K or more from a master created a century ago, whose tone & ease of playing can make a psychopath weep.

Last Edited by Pablo42 on Apr 20, 2018 9:16 PM
5387 posts
Apr 23, 2018
5:48 AM
i would have loved to have heard Lateef in person. have just been playing the 'every village has a song' CD. so much of that i love. i think i was mistaken about the shakuhachi though, i see he played a homemade bamboo flute on a track in that collection and a chinese globular flute. i misremembered.
2050 posts
Apr 25, 2018
3:37 PM
Riley Lee is a sometimes Sydney based shakuhachi virtuoso. Just looked up his Wiki entry. very impressive. Among other things "In 1980 he became the first non-Japanese person to attain the rank of Dai Shihan (grand master) in the shakuhachi tradition."
He was also a founder of TaikOz, the drumming group.

@Frankie. When I started buying gear I bought what I thought I would grow into rather than what I "needed" at the time. Still growing into it. And it's still cheaper than guitar!

BronzeWailer's YouTube
5393 posts
Apr 25, 2018
8:10 PM
I read Riley Lee’s Page also. I liked his ‘why I teach’ story. I really liked that.
22 posts
Apr 27, 2018
12:41 PM
re: Frankie, I too at the ripe old age of 75 have found the search for sound addictive & only through an immense strain against the addiction have been able to 'just for today' not succumb. I'm going with mrjoeyman's advice & when I'm finished with Adam's Begginers Course I'll think about spending any more. The harps I have now I do not have the chops to do justice. 'Nuff said on that subject.
I'm duly impressed by the wealth & broadness of the knowledge I've been reading in this 'beginner forum', stumbling on Adam Gussow on utube, his knowledge of history, not to mention making his bones in one of the toughest spots to do so was fortunate for me, SuperBee & BronzeWailer's mentioning Riley Lee... well, all who post seem far more well versed in the arts than I had imagined. What the heck did I think, that harp enthusiasts drug knuckles through the dirt and did all breathing through the mouth whether or not a harp was in it? Listening to interviews by Adam Gussow,Howard Levy & Mickey Rapheal should have clued me in. Well, here's to you all, who so freely share their helpful advice and knowledge, and hoping the neurons being triggered by learning this deceptively difficult to master instrument (to be under my nose in a few minutes) will help keep dotage at bay for a tad longer.

Last Edited by Pablo42 on Apr 27, 2018 7:54 PM
5396 posts
Apr 30, 2018
1:43 PM
Hey Pablo, I’ve always enjoyed reading your posts here too.
I’m not exactly a ‘beginner’, in the sense that i began playing harp a long time ago, but i feel i have so much to learn, and i am actively ‘learning’ to play, so i post here in that spirit.
I think MindTheGap and Kudzurunner did a good job with the stated aims and rules of this page. We do well here i think, mainly, to answer questions helpfully and share things which we’ve found personally helpful.
I’m with you on the idea of stimulating the brain. I can notice that i have changed my brain over the last few years
24 posts
Apr 30, 2018
4:48 PM
Superbee, Oh, yeah your posts on Breath Control. Big thanks for that also. I've been learning so much through the 'search' function. Learned how to gap reeds last night & have an MB in G sounding way better with less breath (and I thought it was good before). Whew! Controlling going into a draw bend or blow bend slowly is tough stuff my cheeks & tongue think I've been lifting weights with 'em. Feels like I'm high jacking the post Frankie began. Keep the faith.

Last Edited by Pablo42 on Apr 30, 2018 4:52 PM
5398 posts
May 01, 2018
12:20 PM
Some threads just go that way. You’re right, we’ve strayed a long way from Frankie’s OP. Sorry Frankie
228 posts
May 01, 2018
11:09 PM
Since this thread has gone wildly off topic, I don’t feel bad about maintaining Super Bb’s digression about how playing the harmonica “re-wires” yer brain. After having spent most of the past 35 years in left-brain numerical kinds of employment, I’m finding that the right side of my brain feels activated from the past past 5 years of learning the harp. I’m hoping my harp playing will keep improving rapidly as I kill more spreadsheet cells and replace them with music cells. In fact, I’m praying for evolution - hope you get that joke!

Last Edited by Sundancer on May 02, 2018 9:14 AM
5399 posts
May 03, 2018
8:52 AM
I get it.
I’m giving the scale exercises a try. More specifically, 2 particular exercises. Years ago Jimi Lee gave me a minor pentatonic exercise holes 1-6 which proved to be very important and had a huge impact on my playing. Now I’m practicing an exercise recommended by lee sankey, using the entire harp. I have become fairly good at it going up, but still shaky coming down. I don’t mind that because the shakiness is part of the process. The idea in part is to retire the brain in forming the mental image of the harp and I’m finding there are moments when this seems to be working. It’s not a quick process but it does seem to be progressive, and i really believe that regular practice is the key. It’s not about the exercise but about what the exercise teaches.
The other one is from Ronnie Shellist, also using the whole harp and is just a different way to approach the same idea. Perhaps I’d be better to focus on one or the other but the RS exercise is fairly well ingrained now.
I’m really hoping these will help me progress.
Also am playing more 3rd position and thats helping me use more of the space from hole 6 to 8, although i do sometimes get lost up there and find myself playing 1 hole higher than i intended. When i think I’m on hole 6 and in fact on hole 7, my efforts to bend don’t work so well, but again i think its only by going there and getting it wrong that the learning occurs
229 posts
May 03, 2018
4:30 PM
My teacher has me doing an exercise up & down 2 octaves of the major pentatonic. This exercise takes ya from 2 draw to 9 blow, but the numbers below are the order if the notes in the scale, NOT the numbers of the holes.

3 2 1 4 3 2 5 4 3 6 5 4 7 6 5 8 7 6 9 8 7 10 9 8 11 10 9
And back down again

It’s really helping me get rid of sloppy enbourchere, and of course learn a mental and aural imaging system to know where I am and where I’m going. Try it. Very challenging. Very worthwhile.
5402 posts
May 04, 2018
12:30 AM
Yeah, I like that. Mine goes 1231234234534564567567 and so on throughout each Octave. I like yours. I’ll try it tomorrow,

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